Although in Italy there are many new-generation rides, Italian operators are among the least prepared in technical terms relating to safety and prevention
ITALIAN OPERATORS NEED TO CHANGE THEIR ANNUAL TESTING POLICY
by Enrico Fabbri
Italian operators historically have proven to be very effective in the operation and maintenance of rides, and their constant attention has meant there have been very few serious accidents in the last 20 years. Thanks to Italian government incentives they have been able to replace their rides quite often, purchasing more complex and safer models, with more refined calculations and quality processes, being manufactured in line with the strictest international standards.
I have spoken to many Italian operators in recent years and all of them express strong commitment to the operation of their rides, applying the experience acquired from their parents in ensuring their rides are safe.
However, they also believe that they are in step with other major European operators. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most Italian operators are not in step with the big names because almost all of them are lacking knowledge of basic technical testing and safety concepts. For example, in Britain, where there are many rides that are more than 20 years old, only with the introduction of an accurate inspection procedure was it possible to reduce accidents by more than 70%. Application of these procedures allowed British operators to understand the best and most efficient prevention techniques. Today, British operators are among the few who are able to operate all over the world, dealing quite easily with inspection bodies.
Italian operators are lucky to have many major manufacturers close to home, and can contact qualified engineers to test their rides. These are important resources that can and should allow the gap that separates them from others to be closed in just a few years.
Everything revolves around the technical personnel who is entrusted the task of carrying out the annual tests. This should not simply be a person who issues the test report, but rather a consultant who can be contacted at any time for any problem.
A consultant who can help prepare the Technical Dossier for the ride, communicate with the manufacturer, and help create the log book according to the latest standards. This technician should inspect the ride every year for annual testing, analyse any critical points, decide which methods to use to check the welding, which critical areas need to be checked more frequently and which need to be tested with 20% or 100% sampling. The operator’s experience needs to be combined with the consultant’s technical expertise: operators can learn a lot from their technician, and vice- versa technicians can learn a lot from operators.
For this reason, a trusted technician needs to be chosen with care, not from those that cost less or who are ‘less of a pain’, but rather from those who are better prepared, including those who can teach what skills are missing. For this reason, the responsibility to begin this improvement process lies with operators, and not the law, which nonetheless specifies this requirement. The improvement process is challenging and time consuming, however over time operators will discover that the log book is much more than what it is now believed to be.
I have written several articles in recent months, explaining the importance of many significant technical aspects, but these are not sufficient if they are not fully understood. If these topics are of interest, they can be discussed in detail with a technical consultant, as they truly understand these concepts and already apply them to other tasks.
So it’s up to operators now to decide whether they want to remain at a low level, or rather grow and reach the same level as their foreign counterparts.
Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri email@example.com
Article originally published in Games Industry (Italy) magazine
Original date: December 2016
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